Official Player Websites Subscribe - Free Newsletter

Sports News First

Victory closing in on Mariners

By Chris Pike
27 January 2013 01:54AM EST

MELBOURNE Victory has stormed into second place in the A-League with a win over Sydney FC on Australia Day with Western Sydney and Brisbane also taking home three points.

It was a big day in the A-League with three matches taking place across three cities to celebrate Australia Day.

It began with the Big Blue at AAMI Park and an A-League record crowd at the venue of 26,882 turned out to see the Victory beat Sydney FC 3-1.

Then in front of another strong crowd of 14,624 at Parramatta Stadium, Western Sydney moved up into third spot on the table with a 1-0 win over Melbourne Heart.

A paltry crowd of just 4821 turned out in Perth at nib Stadium and they wouldn’t have liked what they saw with Brisbane Roar coming away with a 1-0 win over the Glory.

The Victory leapfrogged Adelaide United into second spot on the table with the 3-1 win over Sydney to now be within five points of the ladder-leading Central Coast Mariners.

The Victory took the early advantage thanks to an own goal from Sydney's Seb Ryall in the 24th minute, but then opened up a 3-0 lead when Archie Thompson scored in the 67th minute and Marco Rojas added his 11th of the season in the 72nd.

The Sky Blues did get a goal back through Joel Griffiths in the 75th minute, but it mattered little and it was a delighted Victory coach Ange Postecoglou after the match.

"It is nice to come away with the three points. The crowd was fantastic and it was a great atmosphere, and the boys delivered which I'm pretty pleased about," Postecoglou said.

"I never said the ladder will look after itself, we have to look after ourselves and we are now in second spot with nine games to go. We want to catch the Mariners. They are doing really well and are consistent, but there's no doubt that we want to finish on top so that's our target."

Sydney coach Frank Farina was disappointed to lose, but not so much with the performance from the Sky Blues.

"I wasn’t so much disappointed with how they played, but am disappointed with the loss," Farina said.

"The first goal hurt us a bit when we were trying to make a change and we were most probably being a little bit naïve there when they gave the ball back to us.

"Maybe we should have just kicked it out so we could make the change, but the goal came directly from that and it was deflected as well, so that didn’t help. We finished strongly and the big positive for me was the last 20 minutes when I thought we played very well."

The Victory weren't the only big movers on the day, with the Wanderers beating the Heart 1-0 to also leap over Adelaide into third position on the ladder.

The inaugural A-League club now has 32 points from 18 matches this season to be just one behind the Victory, and ahead of the Reds on goal difference.

Making the Wanderers' win all the more impressive was the fact that they overcame being down to 10-men after Jerome Polenz was sent off in the 13th minute. Japanese star Shinji Ono scored the game's only goal in the 73rd minute from a penalty.

Wanderers coach Tony Popovic felt the way his side reacted to going a man down showed how much it had matured.

"That's another first for us. The boys have shown that down to 10 men, they're not just going gung-ho. They're playing with structure and playing with belief and confidence," Popovic said.

"You could see at halftime in the change room, they really believed they could win the game. It wasn't just hope but I certainly would have been proud after the game whether we won or lost that one."

Heat coach John Aloisi didn’t at all like how his side played as they missed a chance to put some space between themselves in fifth position and the chasing pack.

"I'm very disappointed for the way we played tonight. They thoroughly deserved to win and with 10 men they outplayed us which is the most disappointing bit," Aloisi said.

"When we lost against Sydney FC I was disappointed with the result, but not the way we played and tonight I was disappointed with the way we played from the word go."

It was a familiar story for the Glory at home to the Roar with Perth blowing opportunity after opportunity to score, the best coming to Travis Dodd in the first half and Nick Ward in the second.

They once again went goalless to remain stranded in second last position on the ladder with Brisbane recording the win and taking the three points thanks to a terrific strike from James Meyer in the 16th minute.

Roar coach Mike Mulvey hopes that Brisbane can now build on the performance.

"It's a long way to come to go home with nothing and I think the boys fully deserved it today. We've had a rough trot, that's been well documented, but we have never lost belief and played some good football at times," Mulvey said.

"We did get a little bit anxious towards the end, but it's nice to leave here with the three points. A coach is always happy with a clean sheet, but what I'm not happy about is that we kept creeping a little bit deeper and deeper.

"That comes with the anxiety of where you are, but we will gain some confidence from this and hopefully it's onward and upward from here."

Glory coach Ian Ferguson was left frustrated once again at his side's inability to score. They now have just 18 goals from 18 matches this season despite possessing star striker Shane Smeltz.

"We threw everything at them but the kitchen sink and we just couldn't score," Ferguson said.

"There were four or five really great chances that we should be putting away."

Your view first

Add your comment... Comments (0)